Life After Grad School Both Inside and Outside Academia: Part 3--Deciding to Leave the Academy


Inspired by Bradley Sommer’s tweet this past summer about the ongoing challenges of the Humanities job market in the U.S., this four part podcast (produced by Erica Bennett, an M.A. student in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama) talks with an early career scholar now looking for work in academia, a senior scholar with a view from the inside, and those who either earned their doctorate and established a career outside the university or those who decided early on that graduate work was not their preferred career path.

In the third episode, Erica and Jacob Barrett (himself just starting his Ph.D. at UNC Chapel Hill) talk with Jared Powell, formerly a doctoral student in English at UNC, about the reasons why he recently left academia, midway through his Ph.D. program, and decided to investigate careers outside the university.

About the guest: Jared Powell earned a B.A. in English and Religious Studies and then an M.A. in English at the University of Alabama, going on to a Ph.D. in English at UNC Chapel Hill, specializing on the poetry of William Blake. After much deliberation, he recently decided to leave his doctoral program to pivot to a career outside of the academy. He now works as a trainer for a software company, putting his teaching and curriculum design experience to good use.

About the Study Religion Podcast: this series was first posted in the summer of 2022 on the University of Alabama’s Department of Religious Studies Podcast, which contains a variety of other episodes, all on the wider relevance of scholarship on religion—learn more, or subscribe, here.

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